Tour inspires Devon to get cycling

The end of last week provided a most extraordinary two days for cycling in the Sid and Axe Valleys.

The end of last week provided a most extraordinary two days for cycling in the Axe Valley.

Massive crowds of all ages watched the colourful spectacle of the Tour of Britain descend into Seaton and then work its way through Axmouth, Musbury and Axminster. School bands played, 1000s of school children clapped, shouted and waved their flags with boundless energy and that was just for the Police motorcyclists!

The Tour flew through and the celebrations continued with the Seaton Festival of Cycling in full flow. The local cycle club, the Axe Valley Pedallers had a stand near the Seaton Tramway and had people crowded around five deep at one point.

The day rolled on and, finally, 8pm on Friday evening arrived, the start time for 'Round the Clock - Round the Block' a charity cycle event organised by the Pedallers to coincide with the Tour of Britain and arranged to raise funds for Devon Air Ambulance Trust and Prostate Cancer.

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Robin Bevis, who is the Cycle Officer for Devon and also the Project Manager for the Tour of Britain, waved a Devon flag and the 24-charity cycle event had started with over 20 entries at this late hour of the day.

Through the night cyclists pedalled and the club stand, which had now transformed into an HQ, was busy handing out cakes, making tea and coffee and encouraging the hardy riders to reach their individual targets.

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By 10am in the morning, the scheduled main start was due and a wonderful array of cyclists turned up, some even in fancy dress costumes. Greta Junker, a rising star from the South West Bike Academy, led off this entry, and the event now entered the next phase of the 24-hour challenge.

Seaton was bathed in glorious sunshine, bands were playing and the Cycle Circus was providing entertainment for the young and old alike as they all tried their skills on the most strange yet inviting collection of pedal powered transportation.

The AVP event pressed on and, as the town grew quiet in the early hours of Saturday evening, the riders continued, finally finishing at 8pm. The club had over 80 entrants on this inaugural ride, which is expected to raise more donations than any other charity event in the club's history.

Alistair Cope, spokesperson for the Axe Valley Pedallers, said

"There were many noteworthy achievements by the cyclists who took part. For some, completing one lap of five miles, towing one of their children was magnificent. Others set 25, 50 or even 100-mile targets.

One Pedaller cycled more or less non-stop for 17 hours and another gentlemen, Len Styles from Honiton, at the age of 72 years, cycled 240 miles during the 24-hour period, a simply stunning performance!"

Mr Cope went onto say "the aim of our club is cycling for all and that is why we put on an event that all could be part of. We were encouraged and supported by so many people in the area and now intend to make this an annual event."

Full details of how much was raised will be released as soon as all the sponsorship money has been collected.

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